Dash over after school, leave work early or put off the unemployment line: I have your Wednesday afternoon and evening planned for you, to be spent at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
First, at 4 p.m. at Island Cinemas, you'll be checking out Mosquita y Mari, a gentle drama about two high school girls in heavily Latino Highland Park developing an unlikely friendship that blossoms into something more.
Aurora Guerrero, who wrote and directed, deserves kudos for the respectful way she treats the community and the budding relationship of her lead characters. Fenessa Pineda and Venecia Troncosco are amazing, each bringing a natural grace to the screen that actors with many more imdb credits should envy.
Next, you'll want to book it to Triangle Square in Costa Mesa for the 6:15 p.m. showing of Jay Gammill's hilarious no-budget comedy Free Samples. Jess Weixler is terrifically sassy as Jillian, a blackout drinker whose life is going nowhere. She is roped into working for several hours in an ice cream truck for her bestie Nancy (Halley Feiffer).
Written by Jim Beggarly, the movie is driven by the brutally honest words coming out of deadpan Weixler's mouth as she interacts with a homeless lady (Wendy Shapero), a faded actress (Tippi Hedren), a pal Jillian loves to verbally abuse (Jason Ritter), various customers (who include improv comedians Matt Walsh and Joe Nunez) and a guy named Tex (Mr. Jesse Fucking Eisenberg himself) who is actually interested in the hot mess. Free Samples is all the more amazing when you learn, as Gammill told the Island Cinemas crowd after his flick premiered at NBFF Friday, that he's only five years out of USC and the entire shoot lasted only 13 days.
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Stay at Triangle Square for the 8:15 p.m. showing of the best short skateboard mockumentary--I'm going to guess--ever. Day at the Pool features the elite of 1970s skateboarding, from Dogtown as well as OC, perpetuating a cover-up to deny someone the glory for achieving the impossible back in the day.
The performance of Duane Peters alone is worth the price of admission. Day at the Pool opens for Format Perspective, which explores the work of six European skate photographers.
Also recommended: Guilty at 2:30 p.m. at Island Cinemas; Sunset Strip at 6 p.m. at Island Cinemas; Under African Skies at 6 p.m. at Triangle Square; Behind the Orange Curtain at 8:15 p.m. at Triangle Square.
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